It isn’t often that I can say that I’m feeling completely relaxed and stress free but every now and then there will be a rare time when everything simply comes together and creates a perfect moment.
Now is one of those times.
We are on the beach. It’s a family day out. Getting here has not been stress free, but then travelling in a car with children rarely is. But if you add to that horrendous ‘crawling almost to the point of being at a standstill’ traffic that stretches the final few kilometres of our journey into a seemingly endless and frustrating hour, combined with the overwhelming Summer heat and an ineffectual air conditioning system and things can start to get a little frayed. Combine those already shortened tempers with an arrival at a hugely overcrowded small beach town, jam packed with cars competing to find elusive parking spots and you would be forgiven for wishing that you had stayed at home watching Wimbledon in the coolness of indoors with free access to unlimited cups of tea.
But then, having finally found a place to park the car, having smothered two reluctant, fidgety children in sun cream, having channelled your inner packhorse in order to haul a ridiculous amount of beach paraphernalia down to the water in the stifling heat, you arrive at your destination. The deck chairs are set up, the sand toys are unpacked and the children run off to play. You turn your face to the sun, you close your eyes, take a deep breath and let the fresh sea breeze cool you down.
This is it.
This is that perfect stress free moment.
The children are playing harmoniously. They are entertained and will be for a long time. They aren’t arguing, they have space and free licence to run around and make as much noise as they want. I can sit here and watch them while enjoying the scenery. Even better, I can write. Everyone is content. There is no reason to be stressed.
I choose not to contemplate the inevitable time when we will have to pack up, when we will need to de-sand the children and even worse, start out on our return journey. I know it will take us forever to get home, crawling along once more in a haemorrhaged queue of traffic, in the stifling heat, trying to block out the tetchy, tired, squabbling children in the back seat and trying to keep cool in spite of the ineffectual air conditioning. But I won’t think about these things.
For now I will make the most of this stress free interlude. They don’t come around often.